Helium Gas Detection Technology

Theory of Helium Gas Detection

The theory behind Helium gas detection is rather simple. Since Helium is lighter than air--it has a molecular weight of 4 and air has a molecular weight of 30--if introduced into an empty pipe with a break in it, the Helium gas molecules will exit from the opening, rise through the subsurface, and exit from the ground at the exact point where the break is.

Gas Leak Detector

We use the MGD-2002 Multi-Gas leak detector, which is manufactured by Dielectric, a subsidiary of SPX Corp. of Raymond, ME. This instrument, which is composed of a detector unit, hose, and ground probe sensor, is the ideal instrument for detecting leaks in pipes, storage tanks, or any closed system that can be pressurized with the tracer gas.

Pinpointing a Water Leak Using the Helium Gas Detector

An underground water leak can be found with the Helium gas detector using the following 6-step procedure:

Marking The Location & Depth of A Water Line

1. Mark the Location & Depth of the Water Line

Because the ground probe gas sensor must be passed across the entire length of the line in question, its location and depth must first be determined.

Turning A Water Service Line Off

2. Turn the Water Service Off

The water service is temporarily turned off from a shut-off valve.

Open And Isolate The Water Line for Helium Gas

3. Open & Isolate the Line

The line is shut off at one end and opened up at the other.

Pumping Helium Gas Into a Water Line

4. Pump Helium Gas into the Line

Helium gas is pumped into the open end of the line using a gas cylinder and a flow regulator. 

Performing a Helium Gas Leak Detection Survey

5. Conduct a Helium Survey

The ground probe sensor is run across the line to search for the highest concentration of Helium gas.

Designating The Location Of A Water Leak

6. Designate the Location of the Leak

The location with the highest concentration of Helium is marked on the ground with pink paint and/or flags, thereby indicating the location of the underground water leak.

Advantages of Helium Gas Detection Technology 

Limitations of Helium Gas Detection Technology